The logo, identity and brand of a company are often confused, misunderstood and used interchangeably. All are connected and associated with one another but it is important to realise that they are also all very different. If you imagine your business in the image of a person, we can help to explain the fundamental differences between each of them.
What is a logo?
A logo is the face of your company. It identifies your business in its simplest form. It will usually consist of textual and/or graphical content and should be created using a specific colour palette. A logo can also be referred to as a brand artefact. Determined by any sensorial cue used to project the relationship between you and your audience, brand artefacts come in all different forms. A logo is in its visual form. As it is the first connection you will make with a potential customer, it sets a first impression. It should also symbolise the values, quality and promise that you as a product or service offer. But beyond this, there are many other aspects that form your brand.
What is an identity?
An identity is the visual presentation for your company, communicated through a collection of tangible expressions. This could be through collateral such as stationery, brochures and signage. There may also be written content such as your key messages and mission statement.
For a logo to become more than just a graphic device, it must acquire meaning in the mind of the consumer. An identity is formed of the physical aspects of the business that the customer engages with. It is what the customer comes directly into contact with. The identity is an extension of your logo; multiple assets that can be presented in the same way. It is the expression of what your organisation stands for.
What is a brand?
A brand is far more than a name, logo or symbol, it is the personality of your company and it is ultimately what forms the relationship between your service or product and the consumer. It forms the foundations of your business and is the basis of a logo and an identity, a concept of your business that makes it different from the competition. It also provides your customers with an experience, encompassing expectations, personality and perception. If a logo is present without a brand, once the visual symbol is removed, the business is unrecognisable. A consumer’s relationship is rarely with your product but with your brand. It is there to evoke emotion to help them build an attachment with it.
Connecting All Three
If a brand is the relationship, then a logo is a projection of that relationship, but as we have covered already, a logo is just one form of brand artefact.
The challenge is to find artefacts that tell your story and engage people in a familiar and meaningful way. That means ensuring that when consumers engage with them, they are consistent in their appearance, use, size, scope, colour, feel, etc. Consistency allows your audience to build a memory structure around who you are and what value you have to offer.
This memory structure becomes the identity of your organisation.
It is important to create shared value with your audience, not by trying to stand out with just a logo alone. It must be connected to something much bigger than itself – the relationship.